The New Zealand Fire Service is testing fireproof 360 camera rigs that could one day save lives.
House fires can be difficult for the average person to ever comprehend without experiencing one in person. The destructive force of a structure fire is fast and disorienting — making proper escape planning and preparation key.
That’s why the New Zealand Fire Service is turning up the heat and testing some new 360° video camera rigs to help prepare citizens for a crisis situation and hopefully reduce the amount of preventable fire-related fatalities in the process.
As part of initial testing, The New Zealand Fire Service teamed up with creative agency FCB NZ to hack together a three GoPro camera rig that could withstand heat of up to 250 degrees Celsius (482 degrees Fahrenheit).
The modified GoPro Hero 4 rig has some major fireproofing and from the looks of initial testing, withstood quite a blaze. The test footage was captured at a fire service training building and according to the New Zealand Fire Service, never melted in their initial test shoot.
When production begins on the final VR house fire PSA experience next month, multiple 360 camera rigs will be placed throughout a real-life house that will be burnt to the ground — all in the name of saving lives. FCB NZ plans to then take all the footage and create a VR experience that you’ll be able to check out on a Google Cardboard headset.
The idea of the VR experience is to transport you inside a standard furnished house where a small blaze is started. The little fire will grow rapidly, smoke alarms will begin blaring, and the rooms will quickly start to fill with smoke. You’ll instinctively realize you need to get low, underneath the smoke and navigate your escape out of the structure. You may have to alert building occupants and skip saving valuables along way as the entire experience becomes very disorienting.
We all know how immersive virtual reality can be as an entirely new entertainment medium, but the power of VR to transform the way we may train, educate and prepare ourselves in the future is something to get excited about.
The fire service hopes to have the VR experience ready for the public by end of year before the holidays and hopefully just in time to begin saving lives.